So I guess it’s high time I explain what’s going on in my world. After 5 whole years of being a normal, highly-functioning, *mostly* responsible adult, I QUIT. I just quit the whole business of it all. Well, I should say, I’m QUITTING, because it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, from where we sit right now, I’ve done nothing remarkable or different at all other than turn in my letter of resignation at my job of 5 years. But essentially, in less than 30 days, my entire life will be changing… (and as I type this, I literally have to take deep breaths to calm the anxiety and my inner parent screaming “STOP IT. DON’T DO IT.”)
So I guess I should break this down into sections, since I really am kind of about to change everything all at once (I promise this isn’t a quarter-life crisis???).
SECTION 1: THE JOB
It was once “sold” to me as an idea that career was the big “thing” in life. The thing that everyone goes through all those years of education for. The thing that would really bring you into that upper echelon of adulting prowess and sheer responsible bliss. For the first year of my teaching career, I really felt this. For the first time in my life, I had financial freedom! I could go to restaurants and bars whenever I wanted and buy useless, pointless things on Amazon (yay!). I also genuinely enjoyed what I was doing. Getting paid to hang out with kids, teach them music, and listen to them tell jokes?! Count me in. The second year wasn’t too bad either… I got to direct and produce my first ever musical production with a big group of kids, and it was a success! But then COVID hit. And things really took a nosedive for me. I felt undervalued and underappreciated in the eyes of the public. Everyone was asking more and more of teachers and then getting angrier and angrier when we couldn’t be 5,000 different things at once. Gradually, the vibe around campus got darker and darker as kids and teachers came down with COVID, some cases mild, some severe. And yet, we were still supposed to give MORE than the 150% that we gave last year because we were doing it all “for the kids!” While I value and admire the sentiment that teachers are selfless, loving, compassionate givers who bend over backwards for their students, it began to break me. After all, the whole world was living through a new, terrifying kind of trauma, and yet I needed to be stronger, more responsible, and more flexible than ever before. In the years following the initial outbreak of COVID, the state of education has begun to suffer more and more. The students don’t have the resources they need to re-acclimate to being around 650 kids while also learning social skills, test content, OH!, and dealing with that previously mentioned trauma. The teachers are given new “magic bullet” strategies every few months and expected to implement them immediately and seamlessly into the classroom, only to have them thrown out and replaced with something else later on. And on top everything, everyone is just BURNT OUT. So many teachers are tired. So many students are exhausted and just want to feel safe and loved without having to “catch up” so they can make up for missed time. And through all this change and dissonance, I began to realize that teaching absolutely wasn’t my calling.
I’ve tried to put on every hat given to me as a music teacher. I’ve become so flexible that my legs are over my head and back where they come out of my pelvis. I’ve given everything I can to the kids, and I’ve loved them all 5 years. But I officially submitted my letter of resignation and now I’m on to… what? I have absolutely no idea.
Which brings us to…..
SECTION 2: THE LIFESTYLE
A disclaimer NOT TO READ THIS SECTION IF YOU LOVE COMFORT AND SOCIETY BECAUSE YOU’LL JUST END UP PISSED AT ME. I’m going to use the term “we” to refer to humanity as a whole, not to you as an individual.
Comfort is seductive. Society makes it SO seductive… practically fall-on-your-ass, pick-your-jaw-up-off-the-floor sexy. We have luxury couches, big, flat televisions, candles to make everything glow all sexy, soft, fluffy beds, long episodes and long seasons of TV shows to watch endlessly, short and sweet TikToks to entertain us… I mean, DAMN! Who wouldn’t want that? And our pace of life, too! So fast, so effortlessly difficult… we make it look so normal, don’t we?! We wake up to our beeping tiny computers telling us to get up, we sit down to get places, we sit down at work where we go to make the money that we need to sit down to go home and sit down to watch TV and play our video games. Over the past couple of years, I’ve started to realize how freaking bizarre this whole rat-race is.
It started with walking 500 miles in Colorado… yeah that really woke me up to how different things can be when you’re comfortable being uncomfortable. For one, it helped me to realize how disconnected from the Earth and myself I had become in my daily life. I spent so much time indoors, and when I was outside, it was often on pavement, and absoLUTELY with shoes on. I spent more time being comfortably distracted with my ultimately meaningless activities like binging the new Netflix series, playing video games, drinking, and doom scrolling. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed those things at various times! But ultimately, at the end of the day, week, month, year… I felt like “what the hell am I doing?” After some amount of time, I realized that I’d been ignoring all of my problems, my trauma, my fears, and my anxieties by allowing myself to stay stuck in the societally built comfort nest. So to quote myself at the beginning of this post, “I’M QUITTING.” I’m quitting my apartment, my TV, my job, my single-city dwelling, my societally approved, stamp of approval lifestyle, and…
I’m moving into my Prius.
Why? Other than the reasons I mentioned above, I’m not totally sure. All I know is that my inner-knowing is calling me to it. It’s begging me to wake up and smell the proverbial coffee. It’s yearning for long drives to free forest land. For waking up to alpine lake views and Wal-Mart parking lots. For lessons learned through ease or difficulty. For a bit of struggle to shake up the monotony of “normal life.” For an adventure and a story to tell when I’m old and gray. For the opportunity to act on a whim so I never have to question “what if I had…”
I have no idea where this will lead me. I have no idea what I will learn or how much I will love/hate it. But I can tell you one thing, I’m committed to searching. I’m “all in” (the ABC Bachelor franchise really ruined that one for me) for finding my most authentic self… the self that was born of a self-paved path. And I’d love to bring you along on the journey, if you’re interested! The goal is at least this blog, perhaps a vlog… and I’ll update you on the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful.
Thanks for joining me on this journey (and for reading my long-ass rant). Cheers to living!